Fandom: Gravity Falls (Many minor crosses, notably "Rick and Morty")
Pairing: OFC & Stanford Pines
Categories: Space Pirates, Road Trip, Angst, Horror, Friendship, Queer-Platonic, Pre-Canon
Length: Long (24 000 words)
Warnings: Violence, Slavery, Non-Con, Canon-Typical Horror
Author Website: AO3
"So good-bye, I'll be leaving,
I see no sense in this crying and grieving,
We'll both live a lot longer
If you live without me..."
- Linda Ronstadt, "Different Drum"
This fic is very accessible to people unfamiliar with Gravity Falls canon, however its premise is a spoiler.
Blue Bayou explores how Grunkle Ford's decades long, inter-galactic exile might have gone down, beginning when he meets his future partner-in-crime, Ripley Savage, a cheerful human gladiator with memory problems.
Ford's characterisation in this fic is great. As in canon, he is incredibly intelligent, obsessively focussed and very dismissive of anyone less academically inclined. Similarly to canon, in Blue Bayou, Ford's neuroticism is treated sympathetically and his love of nerd culture endears him to both the reader and Ripley. However, Ford is also noticeably younger and less secure, allowing room for him to notice his own excesses and develop as a character.
I especially like Ford's scatter-brained careless ruthlessness; it fits well with his canonical traits, but is also a quality that his less-intellectual family members have in spades. (Mabel cheerfully executing the captured murderous wax figures comes to mind.)
Ripley is more empathetic and emotionally balanced than Ford, even as a slave with countless murders to her name, so she has diplomatic skills, flexibility and basic decency to bring to a partnership as well as sword-fighting expertise. She is a comprehensible and endearing character. Ripley also works well as a foil to Ford and it's fun to watch the relationship develop and the contrast in the ways they deal with similar problems and goals.
The horror and ugliness is worse than Gravity Falls canon, because the characters talk about what happens and deal with emotional fall-out on-screen, but also better because the main characters are adults. The ending is more bitter than sweet (and the AU sequels currently incomplete).
Overall, Blue Bayou's a fun fic about awkward criminals having scary adventures and (failing at) negotiating a relationship.